Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers,
and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
In the words of the great Anglican theologian William Temple: there is only one Sin (that's the one with a capital 'S'); "putting ourselves at the centre of our own lives and other people's lives where only God belongs.
If I'm serious about Sin and what my beliefs are I know I have to be awake and aware, intentional, to take sin as seriously as a recovering alcoholic can only take the practice of sobriety one day at a time.
I don't know what the situational or emotional drivers were that tormented and took over the life of Jared Loughner and led to the Arizona shootings but clearly the boy had been troubled for years, until he unleashed his suffering and heinously lashed out at all those innocent bystanders resulting in the death of six people and destruction of so many other lives.
Knee jerk reactions to yet another mass shooting always ask for a cause and much soul seeking.
There has been discussion on gun laws, the recent ways in which corporate or political discourse has become so hostile, belligerent and degenerate that it has opened the doors to "demonisation", whether society as a whole is to blame etc etc.
Mark Mardell had this to say on his BBC site on Monday:
"It is too late for this crime to be dismissed as the meaningless act of a madman. It may turn out there was no political motive at all. But the killings have already acquired a meaning. A mood of anxiety about political tone that has existed for months has begun to harden into something more tangible, something that could be a game changer, provoking national soul searching.
After the Oklahoma bombing in 1995, when a right-wing extremist killed 168 people by blowing up a federal building, Bill Clinton used the moment to link the attack with the Republicans' anti-government rhetoric of the time. It worked. Mr Obama may not go that far, but he will stand in silent tribute on the White House lawn later. In a year when he is trying to recapture the centre ground and appear above partisan bickering, it will be a silent rebuke to a certain brand of politics.
Facebook spokeswoman Randi Zuckerberg told ABC News the biggest question on the social-networking site since the shootings has been: "Is Sarah Palin to blame?"
Many will say obviously not.
But some liberals accuse the Tea Party movement of creating a climate of hatred where opponents are seen not as wrongheaded, but as treasonous enemies of America.
On the internet, the right has reacted with fury to these accusations. One website writes: "Despite the fact that Jared Lee Loughner was a psychotic loner with 'left-wing' beliefs according to those who knew him, the establishment has hastily exploited yesterday's tragic shooting in Tucson to demonise conservatives, libertarians and gun owners."
But whatever the bloggers get up to, this week no national figure will indulge in harsh rhetoric, and there will be, for a while, a change in tone."
I don't know if Jared Loughner was psychotic but any pledge we make to secular ideologies, governments or flags can easily be distorted to negate an accurate understanding of God ;e.g. God is like MY president; MY president speaks for God or his will. From what I've read so far, Jared Loughner was just as likely to shoot Sarah Palin as anyone.
But the extreme idol of capitalism that makes compassion for the poor and commitment to social equity equate with communism, which must be bad, because it's not capitalism is the sort of rhetoric that claims the right to speak such tosh as "freedom of speech".
But if that is so then all of us and the churchleaders need to speak out just as loudly against distortions of truth.
One of the things that strikes me most about this Gospel is that it is the "unclean spirit" who recognizes who Jesus really is.
That is a sad and sober reflection for all of us who think we lead good lives and claim to know who Jesus is.
Reflection from here
and another from here